Remember when we were told Common Core was just a set of standards?  As if parents could  not see the damage being done to their children through the Common Core aligned curriculum and testing.

This month New Hampshire students are being subjected to the Smarter Balanced standardized assessment.  There are numerous reasons a large number of parents are now refusing to let their children take it.  But there are now other concerns we have as the state moves away from Smarter Balanced to the PACE assessments. 

Recently I heard from a New Hampshire second grade teacher writing about her frustration with the micro-managing she is seeing in her classroom.  We’ve heard from other teachers in New Hampshire who’ve not only described the same problems, but prove this reform is driving good teachers out of their profession.

Maybe instead of forging ahead with another waiver from No Child Left Behind, policy makers need to look at what the Common Core reform has done to our schools, teachers and students first.   This rush to seek a waiver appears to take a failed reform like No Child Left Behind and impose a “Common Core” solution that’s even worse.

I recently sent this letter to the NH House and Senate Education Committee, the NH Board of Ed and Commissioner Virginia Barry.  It highlights the big lie we were told when they tried to sell us on the “Common Core” reform: It’s just a set of standards………..

Below is one of many e-mails I receive from teachers across New Hampshire as the Obama redesigned model is thrust upon their schools and facilitated by the NH DoE.
I edited out some of the text that would identify the teacher since she is one of many who do not feel comfortable speaking publicly.
As we continue to hear from many teachers who’ve described their jobs now as being “scripted,” I think she highlights that problem in her letter.
If the Common Core reform, or Obama’s redesign were just about a set of standards, why so much control over how a teacher will teach, assess, grade and run their classroom? This teacher works in a NH district that was NOT listed as participating in the PACE program by the DoE.

Ann Marie Banfield

At our workshop on Friday, we were told about PACE.

We have been writing curriculum and have to create performance tasks and assessments to go with our units of study. We have been given the Smarter Balanced Performance Task Specifications which are general guidelines for development of performance tasks and assessments. I will list the specifications that we are to meet:

* Integrate knowledge and skills across multiple content standards or strands within a content area.

* Measure capacities such as depth of understanding, research skills, complex analysis, and
identification/providing of relevant evidence.

* Require student-initiated planning, management of information and ideas, interaction with other materials.

* Require production of extended responses, such as oral presentations, exhibitions, and other scorable products, including more extended written responses which might be revised and edited.

*Reflect a real-world task and/or scenario-based problem.

* Allow for multiple approaches.

* Represent content that is relevant and meaningful to students.

* Allow for demonstration of important knowledge and skills, including those that address 21st-century skills such as critically analyzing and synthesizing information presented in a variety of formats, media, etc.

* Allow for multiple points of view and interpretations..

* Require scoring that focuses on the essence of the task.

* Be feasible for the school/classroom environment.

The overall structure of tasks will consist of three basic components:
stimulus presentation, information processing, and scorable product or

Please keep in mind – I teach second grade!!! Am I really expected to create an assessment for my 7 and 8 year olds meeting all of these  specifications? It is difficult to fathom just what the end product will look like.


I am so appreciative of what you send me, however, it is getting more and more frustrating that I can’t seem to do anything to fix it. I try to give information to people, but unfortunately, they can’t do anything either.

I tell parents to get together and come to board meetings and tell them what they want. They haven’t yet.

Thanks again for all you do and for sending me information. I will continue to do my best for my students and keep them loving school.

Second Grade Teacher